Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Free Speech for Computers?

Wu, Tim. "Free Speech for Computers?" The New York Times, June 19, 2012.

From the article: "DO machines speak? If so, do they have a constitutional right to free speech? This may sound like a fanciful question, a matter of philosophy or science fiction. But it’s become a real issue with important consequences. … This is a bad idea that threatens the government’s ability to oversee companies and protect consumers…. Computers make trillions of invisible decisions each day; the possibility that each decision could be protected speech should give us pause. To Google’s credit, while it has claimed First Amendment rights for its search results, it has never formally asserted that it has the constitutional right to ignore privacy or antitrust laws. As a nation we must hesitate before allowing the higher principles of the Bill of Rights to become little more than lowly tools of commercial advantage. To give computers the rights intended for humans is to elevate our machines above ourselves." Read more